Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Many of the birds in this post are House Finches, but there is a female Cardinal finally, Dark-eyed Juncos, a White-breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse and a Red-bellied Woodpecker, either in a photo or video.

I have to say that I am getting so much enjoyment from the deck camera.  It gives you a closer peek into these birds that visit every day.  I have seen a Carolina Wren but haven't gotten a real good view yet.  One of these days.

Thanks for visiting and enjoy your day.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


Yesterday Gregg was going through a brief case, and came across one of our old wedding photos.  The briefcase belonged to his parents, a photo they must have ordered.  We both looked at it and were surprised, because neither of us can remember this particular one.  Our own wedding album doesn't have it, so this was a very nice surprise.  It was taken in England, just after our wedding ceremony 43 years ago.  In some ways it seems like yesterday.

We did not want a long distance courtship and, as Gregg had to leave England to start a new job in Washington DC, we decided to get married in December.  The Church was built in the year 1100 AD. The only heating inside the church was a small electric heater by the altar.  When we said our vows you could see our breath.  That winter turned out to be the coldest in well over a hundred years.  We were smiling at someone out of frame.  I wish I could remember who it was, but that day flew by in a whirlwind. Three days later I was on my way to the USA and a new life with my husband.  

I added the photo above from our last trip home in 2015, when we visited my village church. Those windows are the same as in our wedding photo, apart from being taken outside 40 years later, when the weather was a lot warmer and the roses were blooming.

"I love your feet because they have wandered over the earth and through the wind and water until they brought you to me."
~Pablo Neruda, Your Feet~

A touch of nostalgia thanks to finding another of our old photos.

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone, 
and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 25, 2019


Update as of 9.57 a.m. February 26th, 2019. 

Diane has her blog back as of this morning. Thanks for letting me know Eileen. That is good news. I will leave my post as is, just to let everyone know to be aware. 

The following is a post from the new Lavender Dreams, which I read about on Eileen's blog.  Her link can be found here. I feel like this could happen to any one of us, so thought to copy it in its entirety, having read that Diane wants to let everyone know her situation.  As permission is given to copy this one post, I thought it would be easier to learn this from Diane and her hubby, Mr. Lavender D.  I wish Diane the best of luck, and I am happy to help get the word out.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Behemoth squashes the little Lavender Dreamer

That's right. "The Rise of the Machines" is upon us. Our former happy little blog ( was suddenly terminated.

Why and how was it done? It wasn't someone reporting us. It was Google's automated piece of software (a bot) that roams the Blogger world looking for pre-programmed words of woe. Once it detects something it kills the whole blog without warning. Without any notification about these supposed offending words. Without an opportunity to fix anything. Just ZAP ... your digital life is deleted. Everything is gone!

Ten years of blogging, thousands of posts, many thousands of photos, over ten thousand comments and a hundred thousand heart-felt words all gone in an instant. Devastating! Be warned all you innocents in blogland.

The blog was actually removed twice, for "phishing". Which, as you all know, is absurd. We have never asked for your personal, private information. The Appeals process reinstated the blog the first time then the Google Bot zapped us again the next day. But the second time we were locked out of the Appeals process. We tried sending Feedback. Never got a answer. Tried to post to the Blogger Help Community. They never published the post. Located twenty phone numbers for Google. The numbers are all automated and only a couple allowed you to leave a message. We left messages. Never got a callback.

Google/Blogger pronounces you guilty using an "automated system" (their words) and gives you little or no opportunity to prove otherwise. It's been a nightmare. (for more details see the timeline post below)

So what choice do we have now that Google/Blogger has burned down our blog? Like the Phoenix from Greek mythology we shall rise from the ashes with this new blog. We will start over and hope that our many friends and followers will be able to find us and that they will never ever have to suffer the same fate.
Mr. Lavender D.

You can imagine how devastating this has been to me. I appreciate my sweet hubby taking the time to help me start a new blog. But can I ask all of you to do me a favor? Will you please put a sentence or two in your next post to let people know where I am and what has happened to me? You can say that my blog was unfairly removed by Blogger and we are trying our best to get it back, but for now I will post updates on the process here:
And also a plea to Blogger to bring back lavenderdreamstoo. We're a supportive community! Maybe they will listen if we all voice our consternation together!
Thank you, Lavender Dreamer Diane

You have our permission to copy and paste any part or all of this post to your social media. At the very least please post a few lines on your own blog about what's happened to Lavender Dreams and include our new blog address. Thanks. MrLD


I put this together as a first meal of the day at eleven-ish, brunch I guess.  I also think it would be nice for lunch or supper.

This is not for everyone I know, but for me it was a great combination of flavors, one of those 'boring-on-their-own-but-together-kind-of-delicious' type of meals.  There is no recipe.  I like to go through Instagram and saw a photo similar to this one, except that they used a slice of toast, and had bacon instead of the tomato.  I used a large portabella mushroom for my base, and I had an avocado that was ripe.

I roasted the mushroom in the oven for 20 minutes on 400 degrees F., using 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil drizzled on the top.  While that was cooking I hard-boiled an egg and sautéed a sliced tomato using cooking spray (I would have cooked the tomato in the oven with the mushroom if I had thought about using one beforehand).  The avocado I mashed up with a squeeze of lemon juice added, which not only kept it from going brown but gave it a nice but not overpowering zing.

On the plate, roasted portabella, topped with the mashed avocado/lemon juice mix, sliced hard-boiled egg (you could poach or fry an egg instead), and the sliced sautéed tomato.  

I wouldn't hesitate to make this again as it made a delicious change for breakfast/lunch.  I usually have a bowl of oatmeal but felt like something different today.   

I wish I could give credit for the original idea from Instagram.  I try to remember to ID but occasionally forget.

Enjoy your week everyone.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


My theme this week seems to be of birds.  This one is from my archives.  I like to re-share my favorites occasionally.  We were in Cody, Wyoming.  I was sitting in a garden and watched the birds as they came to the feeder.  The feeder alone was worthy of a shot.

It snowed most of the day yesterday, a more wet, heavy snow according to Gregg as he shoveled the driveway.  Our neighbor across the street has one of those powered snow removers, but said it was too much of a wet snow and it wouldn't work properly.  Never having had one I wouldn't know.   This latest snowfall left three or four inches on the ground, so not so bad compared to other areas.  The good news is that it is going to get up to 50 degrees F. today.  That should get rid of quite a lot.

We will be seeing our son tonight.  He has been out of town on business for a couple of days and we are picking him up at the airport.  Our sweet daughter-in-law dropped him off.  We volunteered to pick him up as she will be working, and we never miss a chance to enjoy his company.  

I am heading to the coffee pot for my first cup of the day.  I wish you all a good one, and thanks so much for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


I was wondering when the crows would turn up.  Did you know that researchers have found them more intelligent than chimpanzees?  I have often heard that they are a very smart bird, but did not know that interesting fact. Crows, so I read, have a very developed forebrain, which is where most intelligence is stored.  In fact, the anatomy of their brain is very similar to humans.

Here are a few more facts about them.  

Their scientific name is Corvus brachyrhynchos.  Try saying that one fast!  

Crows first appeared during the Miocene Period, around 17 million years ago, in Oceania and Australia.

They can be found on every continent except Antartica.

They are omnivores.

A group of crows is called a "murder".  

Crows are monogamous.  This means they have only one mate for their entire life.

They look out for one another.  When a female crow is incubating the eggs, other crows, whether they are her mate or not, will watch for danger and protect the female.

Both the female and the male crow will help take care of the offspring.  The offspring are also known for staying with their parents to take care of the new offspring.

Apart from being very intelligent, crows are social birds as well.  Each murder will develop a specialized dialect so each crow knows what murder it belongs to.

I learned of the above information, and much more at this website.  More interesting facts can be found here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


The Blue Jays visit every day...
The Red-bellied Woodpecker visits but less frequently.
Mourning Doves are here daily.
The Blue Jay and the Red-bellied Woodpecker seem to get along quite well.
The camera caught an incoming Dark-eyed Junco and the Dove doesn't seem to mind.

In this frame there is a White-throated Sparrow in the background, with the Dove and the Dark-eyed Junco a little bit closer.
I find it interesting that I haven't seen a female Cardinal in quite a while, just the male with its bright red plumage. 
And that's it for today's deck camera birds.  My little Dark-eyed Junco with Leucism hasn't been seen since the last time I posted about her/him. I find myself developing attachments to these birds, and hope she/he is okay and off visiting some other bird feeders in another area.

Happy day to you all and thanks for visiting.

Monday, February 18, 2019


This week's recipe came from Simple Stacie, another great food blog whose host Stacie lives in Ontario, Canada.  This is the link to her recipe.

Busy Day Soup
Serves 6
Calories per serving 230, which does not include our additions of the peppers and the spoonful of sour cream.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes

1 lb. ground beef
1 package onion soup mix (there is also a copycat homemade version to replace the store-bought onion soup mix packet below)
1-3/4 cups mixed frozen vegetables
5 cups water
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup macaroni, uncooked

In a large soup pot, brown ground beef.  Drain off fat.  Pour in water, onion soup mix and tomatoes with juice.  Simmer for 1 hour on medium low.

Add macaroni and frozen vegetables.  Cook 15 minutes longer on medium heat.  Serve hot.

Nutritional information:

Calories: 230  
Total Fat: 3.1g
Saturated Fat: 1.3g
Trans Fat: 0.1g
Unsaturated Fat: 1.4g
Cholesterol: 45.2 mg
Sodium: 522.4mg
Carbohydrates: 28.5g
Fiber: 5.1g
Sugar: 5 g
Protein: 22.1g

I have made this twice now, once for our last lot of company, and yesterday for us.  It was enjoyed by all.

This is one of the easier prep soups we have made.  We added extra pasta and a few cups of beef broth the second time as we wanted more broth.  Also, because the pasta is not pre-cooked, we thought it would have absorbed more broth.  The noodles are added to the soup the last 15 minutes of cooking time. 

I exchanged the macaroni for bowtie pasta.

Last weekend I put a small cheese tray together for our company.  I was looking for extra color and I came across the above at the supermarket.  On the packet they are called Sweety Drop Peruvian Peppers and are 25 calories for 2 tablespoons.   They are tiny peppers not much bigger than the size of a green pea.  I have been eating them as a snack and what I had left I added them to the broth.  They are pickled but not overpowering, and they made a nice flavor addition to the soup.  I like these and would buy them again if available.

We put a dollop of sour cream on top for garnish.

The soup is delicious.  The temperature has taken a bit of a nose-dive again and soup is always a great comfort food on a chilly night.

I made cornbread to serve with the soup but you really don't need anything else as it is very hearty and good on its own.

Added recipe:

Copycat Onion Soup Mix
If you are like me and trying to delete as many preservatives and additives out of your life as you can, I found this copycat version here at 'A Mind "Full" of Mom'.

Homemade Dry Onion Soup Mix
This homemade recipe is gluten-free, paleo, whole 30 approved, egg free, corn free and vegan, for those who need to take note.  The host of  'A Mind "Full" of Mom' says it is just like Lipton Onion Soup Mix, and is great for a variety of recipes.  

Preparation time: 5 minutes 

1/2 cup dried onion flakes 
1 teaspoon onion powder 
1 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon celery powder 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1 teaspoon dried parsley 
1 teaspoon salt 

Combine and store in airtight container.    

Dry onion soup mix can be stored in your pantry for up to three months for best flavor.

When a recipe calls for 1 packet of dried onion soup mix, use 1/4 cup of this homemade blend.

Have a great week everyone and thank you for visiting.

Friday, February 15, 2019


I suppose you can call this the 7 Steps of the Squirrel Stare-down.  I hope these mini videos amuse you and bring a smile as much as they did me.

I will be sharing deck-cam birds next Tuesday. 

Have a great weekend everyone, and thank you for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


"I must have flowers always and always."
"The promise of Spring's arrival is enough to get anyone through the bitter winter."
~Jen Selinksy~
"Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm."
~John Muir~
"If we had no winter, the Spring would not be so pleasant."
~Anne Bradstreet~
"No winter lasts forever, no Spring skips its turn."
~Hal Borland~
"No matter what the forecast, live life like it's Spring."
~Lily Pulitzer~

For those of us in colder climes, I hope you have enjoyed this 'harbinger of spring' post.  I took all my photos during several spring-times.  You can see daffodils, Dutchman's Breeches (the ones that look like upside-down pantaloons), snowdrops and daffodils.

I enjoy all four seasons where we live.  I may whinge a bit during the height of summer, when my face turns all shade of pinks and blotchy purples during the most humid weather.  This has not changed in the 43 years I have experienced summers in the States, but generally I love all aspects of each season.  

I especially love to see the flowers during the warmer months, and Spring is always a favorite as we see the first sight of them after the winter, and the butterflies they bring, and the bees.  I shall be ecstatic to see the first flowers bloom, the first butterfly, the first bee, and I will be ready with my camera.

I thought I would leave you with this clever little word art.  I found it online but it did not have the name of the person who created it unfortunately.

Image result for poem about spring

Enjoy your day everyone, and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


I enjoyed taking photos of this little visitor the other day.  These are from my regular camera, not the deck cam.  I don't remember seeing a White-throated Sparrow in our garden before.  They have generally been the House Sparrow or Song Sparrow.
This link will take you to the Audubon website.  You can scroll down to see other information.
A very enjoyable little visitor to be sure.

Yesterday we woke up to a dusting of snow, which turned to sleet, and the snow disappeared quickly.  Now we have icy rain for the next couple of days or so.  As I am getting this post ready (February 12th, 2019 at 5.50 p.m.) it is 33 degrees F.  Tomorrow it will be dry but windy.  
I am paying more attention to the weather - is that an age thing?  On these inclement days I turn into a bit of a hermit.  

Our weather is not as bad as what many of you have to deal with, so I wish you all safe travels, with hot chocolate and a warm fire to sit by when you get home.

"Weather Forecast for tonight?  Dark!"
~George Carlin~


The memories of an old life,
That has taken hold,
Alas it is but an old car, 
But some things are still gold.  

~lines from a poem by Jermaine Carter~
(found on a road trip out west several years ago)

Monday, February 11, 2019


Last month we decided to go to lunch at a new restaurant - for us it was new.  We had seen First Watch advertised on Yelp and the reviews seemed very good.  We had tried one time before on the weekend, and the line was out the door.  

We went again during a weekday.  It was still very busy but we were able to get a table right away.
We sat down and it wasn't long before a young lady came over to ask if we would like a drink.  I ordered coffee and water for later.  Gregg had an iced tea.  

She left us with the menu and there was a lot to choose from, so much we weren't ready to order when she came back.  She gave us a few more minutes.  
I think I settled on one thing and saw something else at least three or four times.  Finally I settled on this one.  
At first you look at the calories and you go "wow".  But what I love is that a lot of restaurants add the calorie content after each meal on the menu, so you can plan. We didn't have breakfast and afterwards we went shopping.  By the time we got back home, this was our main meal of the day.
Gregg's meal was excellent he said.  Mine too.
The bread had a wonderfully crusty coating on the outside of the bread.
This was the first time we had eaten bacon this way, and gosh was it over-the-top yummy.
Another photo of Gregg's meal, the bacon came separately and we each had two slices.
We were impressed with First Watch and will be going back.  There was a lot of food and next time we are going to ask for two plates, find a meal on the menu that we both like and share.  
Our first experience at First Watch was an excellent one. The staff were friendly and the food was great.
It was starting to snow when we left the restaurant but this was the second lot that we had and it wasn't very heavy.  We got home a few hours later having had no problems.  

Wishing you all a great week.